Skip to main content

Would-Be Followers of Jesus (Rabel)

(Back) Long Parable on Forgiveness Samaritan Village Refuses Jesus (Next)

This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 26 given on March 11, 1976

Matthew 8:19-20, Luke 9:57-62, pp. 157-163 of transcript.

(Read Luke's version).

9:57And as they went on the way, a certain man said unto him, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 9:58And Jesus said unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

There is obviously a metaphysical, esoteric lesson being conveyed here, not human behaviorism advice as some people tend to think. Remember that during his ministry Jesus realized that many persons would be deeply impressed and excited about some of his demonstrations and he realized how quickly human nature can become enthusiastic in the face of visible success. "Nothing succeeds like success." People become very excited and willing to make commitments when they are in face of visible and especially spectacular success. Jesus knew this and he knew how prone we all are to make promises and to commit ourselves to things which vividly impress us. Jesus was prepared for this sort of response from many of his witnesses and so when it inevitably happened he was able to give the right reply. He also knew that there will always be those who are professional rejecters of what they haven’t already made up their minds about instead of realizing that a person who gages his demeanor and his attitude to fit the propriety of the occasion is the spiritually minded person, not the spotlight stealer. Sometimes being in the spotlight folks is one of the biggest penalties that karma can inflict on us. O.K.

To understand Jesus’ words to these three men try to remember that in speaking these words Jesus was thinking of more than just these three particular men he is talking to. This is always the case with Jesus. We sell him short if we interpret his words only in the given situation to the particular personality that Jesus is talking to and forget that whatever that personality was that same personality factor is in all of us in all times. So, although his words do apply to these men personally at the time, the meaning of his words extends beyond them and their circumstances because his words are reaching right into our lives today. Jesus is addressing here as always all persons who sincerely want to follow the spiritual Truth in their lives as their pathway on their unfoldment. In these three groups of words or three responses to three personalities, Jesus is mostly speaking about not what following the truth will do for us but rather what it will take away from us and require us to give up or to do without.

Too many times we think of following the truth way as a 100% getting our way and we forget that there are two sides to every coin and following the truth way also consists of a lot of doing without or giving up of circumstances. So Jesus begins..."the foxes have holes, the birds of the heavens have nests, but the Son of man hath nowhere to lay his head." Remember that son of man means human being or human nature. Jesus is implying here that if we really want to live according to the truth, which he brought one of the things that we must reconcile ourselves to, is the fact that as a human being there is one thing we shall not have in this world which is a permanent place in which to stay fixed. This is something we shall have not. If you cannot accept that then you cannot follow the kind of truth given by Jesus Christ. No matter how low you may go in life, not how high you may rise in life, neither of these two places is permanent.

The hole of the fox, or the nest of the bird are never to be compared to what you call your right place in life. It is the right place for the bird and the right place for the fox, but as far as you are concerned, you can never call any place your right place in which you will be a permanent fixture; your right place happens to be wherever you are being creative at any moment, be it the richest, busiest Unity center in the field or a hole in the wall; if you are being creative in that situation, that is your right place but in a palace, if that is where you are fixed you save your face, that is not your right place, do you remember that old song ... "She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage?" So, Jesus is telling us, you have not a permanent fixed place in life as human beings and there is a very valid metaphysical reason for this folks. It is because in reality your true environment is omnipresence, it is not locality, that is not your true environment. Your true environment is omnipresence and so you cannot stay fixed, the son of man part of you which is your human self must never say, "I have it made, this is it." It may be it for a moment, and it should be it for the moment and maybe even for a long time but never permanently; there will always be something else which you could do, a different kind of creativity for you to be involved in, something different and if you are in tune with the Holy Spirit, it will always be not only something different but something better, something finer. Never look for a permanent place "to lay your head" because there is not such a place. If it is the softest pillow in the world when you first lay your head there, guess what is hiding inside the soft petals? very sharp pin bricks. A temporary resting place, yes; a place where you may stop and enjoy some of the fruits of your labor, yes; but only for a while.

Do you see how, friends, if people who are destined for retirement could get a hold of this? How they would not think of retirement as that place like the foxes’ hole or the birds’ nests where they are going to lay their heads, but simply as a place of rest while they can stop and view their achievements and enjoy some of the fruits of their labors. But even in that place or resting place there will be new challenges and new creativity requiring their involvement. If they could just open their eyes to a whole new dimension. There are so many other fields in life for us and new heights for us to reach because we are not in eternal life, we are part of eternal, life and eternal life is growth, expansion and progress.

9:59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 9:60But he said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God.

Jesus goes on then and tells us of another thing in our human self which we must give up if we are to live the life of truth to the fullest. We must stop trying to bury all our dead ourselves. Jesus assures us that the dead will take care of their own. You can see that this statement is very esoteric, purely symbolic. Very often when Jesus uses the word dead, he uses it in a generic sense, not in referring to this corpse or that corpse not like saying this guy thought his grandfather or his father had died, is that true? Nobody's father dies, only the physical organism in that capacity dies, a person can't die, there is no death people, so on a purely impersonal metaphysical basis this will be correct but there is even a deeper implication. Jesus most often uses the word death referring to all those things about us, in our own nature, which are no longer needed as a living, growing, useful part of our on-going. This would be attitudes, reactions, opinions, thoughts, feelings, memories, what have you; this will include all our past mistakes, as mistakes, our unhappy memories as unhappiness, our own thoughts and weaknesses as thoughts and weaknesses. Do you notice what I am doing here? I am not saying that we forget these things that happened but in that capacity they are death; our old mistakes are death but only in the fact of mistakes, not in the sense of happenings. O.K.?

The illnesses you have had as illnesses, the bad times other persons gave you and you gave other persons as bad times and so forth, you have outlived all this, they are now a part of the ashes of the past, the essences of them have been extracted and made a part of your livingness, but when is your livingness always occurring? Now. So, all these things have had their essence and their validity but you have extracted that and made it a part of your I AM, but the ashes of that, the negative forms that you reacted to, those are gone; they are now part of the dead. Only you are still alive and these parts of you, must be to you as that which is death. Don't worry about them, their own will take care of them in the sense that all that which is on their own level will absorb them back into the substance of that level; The dead bury their dead; the living live with the living and all that is in the past which has no longer any use on that particular form will be absorbed back into formlessness.

Q: How does the denial work in relation to this particular lesson?

A: Denial, in a sense, is saying, "I am not going to mess with you anymore. I am not going to sustain you with my belief in you, go to your own realm.” This is what you are saying through denial. Denial consigns it to the area of "dead" and then the forces, so to speak, of that level who have a job to do on that level. Let them do their job which is to absorb the thing back into that which can be reformed or substance. Thank God it is that way. What Jesus is warning about is when you don't let denial do its job and "I do the job" or psychoanalysis. When I go into your subconscious and tell you now what you have to do instead of letting the law take care of it through the proper use of denial and the renunciatory faculty. Jesus perceptibly states it, "let the dead bury their own dead." That is the other side of the coin of saying, "let go and let God." That is the affirmative side of it. The denial side is let the dead bury their own dead. I have severed the connection with it, I have removed the sustaining power of my belief in it and I have severed my need for it.

A lot of people think they need their unhappy memories as much as they need their own children. Why do you think it is so? Because, they claim, they belong to me. O.K. as long as you claim something as being "my own" it will continue meaning to you what it has always meant and this includes an unhappy memory, a negative reaction, a regret over a past mistake. We extract the essence of it which is the lesson to be learned but then that is the substance, but let the shadow of it return to Sheol where the shades are and the shades take care of their shades until finally the shades banish into the mist, according to the Greek Mythology. Well, mist is an ancient symbol for substance.

9:61And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house. 9:62But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Next Jesus gives this final admonition, "And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house. But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is for the kingdom of God." One thing I want you to notice here friends, that is that Jesus is not specifically telling this man, "you can't go back and say good bye to your family;" he doesn't say that. We, for some reason, jump to a conclusion and say that he said that but he didn't. He is talking about something else. In other words, if the man wants to go back and say good bye to his family that is strictly a matter of personal choice, but Jesus says here, it is not personal choice but a statement of principle. Here a student shares his particular knowledge of farming as applying to this passage: "This has a particular meaning for me because as a farm boy I used the walking plow and there is one thing about a plow that when you follow it it takes a very light touch on the handles and you can go all day long with no effort but you look back and it will pop right out of the ground which means a lot of trouble to get back to where you were before.

Ed: Everything on the outer illustrates and inner principle. But let's not accuse Jesus of having said, "you cannot go back and say good-bye to your family." When all of you resolved to come here into SMRS, you have said the same thing, "Lord, I will follow thee, but before I go to Unity school I want to clear out my thing here and say good bye to my family." If it happened I wouldn't think [missing words in transcript] shove you. What you did, even when you were saying, good-bye to your family you weren’t looking back, you were looking forward and you were hoping that they would be looking forward with you. In other words, even in the midst of saying good bye you were all looking forward, so there was not looking back and so the plow did not slip out of the fold as you went your way.

Let's get away now from the literalness of saying good-bye to the families and think about the attitude involved here. If you are really resolved to follow the way of life called Truth, there is no need for you to ever think you have to say good-bye to anyone or anything you really love. Now, I am speaking of the psychological good-bye, not the literal conventional good-bye, but the attitude. You don't have to think of it in that way. You don't lose people, you don't lose anything of good. You may change and you may change locals but you do not lose and nobody could lose you if you want to be a part of them and they want you to be a part of them. Physical partings to one in Truth should no longer mean loss of persons, your oneness with those you love really should become stronger and deeper than it ever was before. Even with the distance factor at least in your realization you do not bid farewell to loved ones because you find your loved ones are within you. If they are within you now. If there aren't within you now, they never were, dear ones.

You also find that your loved ones are within all persons whom you associate with. To one who is in truth and to one who is in love, other persons can represent the love that was in other persons. The love factor becomes the important thing and remains alive and this idea of lost and of distance equating separation becomes less and less and less of a valid concept to you. Then, if you are very faithful you may stop indulging in a very painful emotional habit called "looking back", longing and regret for the past. There is no need or any room for regret in one who is living and growing in the light of truth, regret should be one of the dead things which the other dead things would be burying along with themselves. The opposite of regret is a realization that all things are working together for good; that is the antidote for regret, the antithesis. All things are working together for good. This is the plow we have put our hand to and sticking to this realization always leads into new adventures in creative living.

In the metaphysical sense your father who has died means your forefather who has died and this means the male person you were prior to the male person you now are was your forefather and why did he die? Because his time was up, the male person you used to be no longer sufficed you for your level of evolution and so that male self that you used to be had to give way to the self you now are, the forefather died and the son remains alive. This is a metaphysical image that is used very often in teaching.

Metaphysically speaking we all have had facets of our human nature which we wish now were pretty well buried. In your progress you don't have to stop and go back into that burying, "I mustn't let anybody know that I used to be..... OK, Jesus is implying that in your progress you don’t have to stop and go back into that burying a very cranky person because there is nothing of it that shows now.." If that is true, I don't have to enroll in some kind of a personality improvement course. I am telling you what the real names of those courses ought to be: 'personality disguising courses, suppressing courses. If I really have let that go behind me, it will be buried by its own level of validity or existence. You see? The skeleton in the closet kind of thing shouldn’t worry you if it isn't a skeleton hidden in a closet, which means a skeleton is still a part of your current existence but closeted, suppressed. If it is a buried skeleton, who is going to take care of it literally? The elements of nature will take care of that, you don't have to worry about it and all of the skeleton facets of our past undeveloped from our present point of contact with all Power we can say that they were undeveloped facets, if you really had buried them on their right place which is with denial and renunciation, no longer give them the sustaining power of your belief, they will be taken care of. You don't have to go back and handle them, you handled them while you were going forward. In fact, the handling of them by consigning them to the past was part of your going forward, it was not an interruption of your going forward but was one of the things that made you go forward was consigning the right things to that area of rejection in which the law will handle it and all will come out smooth and simple.

Text of the original transcript of p.157-163.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-03-2014